Apps, Afros, and Handcuffs: Talking With Kids About Race [Slate/XXFactor]
But even with such stark reminders that the color of our skin and hair changes the way people treat us—and even in a mixed race family (one of my daughters is Asian) it feels weird, if not impossible, to turn to my 9-year-old and say, “So, what do you think about the fact that only one kid in your class is black?”
It turns out there’s an app for that. Harvard cultural anthropologist Michael Baran (who wrote about Disney’s Princess Tiana for DoubleX late last year) sent us links to two iPhone apps from the Race Awareness Project. Guess My Race presents pictures of real people and multiple options for guessing how those photographed answered the question, “What race are you?” Who Am I seems simpler: One player selects a picture from a group of photos, and the other player must guess, by asking questions and eliminating options, which picture was chosen. Is anyone surprised that neither turned out to be simple in any way?
Advice From An Adoptee To Mom [My Mind on Paper]
When I was 8 years old our family packed up and moved from our black neighborhood where I was part of the majority and moved to a white neighborhood where I was now for the first time since I could remember a minority. I was the first child of color on our block and right away I felt differently. The boys that I played with were not sure how to treat me because most had never played with a black person before on a regular basis.
I was also the only adopted one on the block, so I was a double minority and that translated into me being THE DIFFERENT ONE. For the first several months I really struggled with that title.
Freedom for ? [Resist Racism]
In May, Governor Deval Patrick signed Massachusetts’ first anti-bullying statute into law. Among other things, the law provides that school staff report all incidents of bullying, that anti-bullying intervention programs be established, and that students participate in anti-bullying curriculum.
One of the main criticisms of this law and other attempts to address bullying? That they are an assault on free speech. Regular readers may recall that I often think “free speech rights” are raised for the wrong reasons.
Impossible Beauty Standard Ruins Naomi Campbell’s Hair [The Black Snob]
What happened to Campbell is a lifelong fear of mine. From the first time I saw a preteen girl lose her hair to a bad perm, I lived in fear of going bald. I’ve always had a ton of hair. It was always long and curly. My mother used to press my hair straight every two weeks when I was child and took me to a salon to get a perm once every six weeks after I turned 13. I wanted to experiment with my hair, but there was always a voice in the back of my head telling me “YOU’LL GO BALD!” When my always thick hair actually started to get thin when I was in college and my hairdresser told me that it was because after years of resistance my hair was FINALLY getting accustomed to the chemical relaxer, I visualized my once vibrant hair just giving up on me and falling out en masse.
I didn’t go natural out of racial solidarity. I didn’t go natural trying to make some political statement about blackness. I didn’t go natural to subvert the system. I just didn’t want to go bald.